The Bishop’s Palace Lecture Series 16th Nov–12th Dec

The Bishop’s Palace will be hosting its first lecture series with three talks by local expert historians on the history of The Palace and its environs.

The subjects include ‘Christianity in Wells up to the Reformation’, ‘Recent Archaeological Discoveries at The Bishop’s Palace’ and ‘Jocelin and the origins of The Palace in Wells’.

All talks begin at 3pm and last for one hour and tickets are available from the Palace Shop, online and by calling 01749 988111. Tickets are priced at £8 (£6 concessions).


Lecture 1

Dr Tim Hopkinson Ball – Wednesday 16th November 15.00-16.00

Christianity in Wells up to the Reformation: The Palace in its Medieval Context

The Bishop’s Palace in medieval Wells did not exist in isolation; rather it was a constituent part of the wider cathedral complex and city. In this talk the history of Christianity in Wells from earliest times to the Reformation will be addressed. Particular emphasis will be placed on the medieval cathedral and its devotional life. Dr Tim Hopkinson-Ball is Project Archivist at Downside Abbey and Chairman of the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society.

Lecture 2

Dr Stuart Milby and Dr Cheryl Green from Context One – Thursday 17th November 15.00-16.00

Recent archaeological discoveries at the Bishop’s Palace and the episcopal moated manor house at Court Farm, Wookey.

Between 2010 and 2014 Context One Archaeological Services Ltd carried out a series of small investigations at both the Bishop’s Palace, Wells, and the medieval episcopal moated manor House at Court Farm, Wookey. The first part of this joint lecture summarizes the discoveries made at the Bishop’s Palace, whilst monitoring development groundworks in the stable/kitchen and Great Hall entranceway, the service trenching around the croquet lawn and during renovation of the undercroft.

At Court Farm, the most significant remains relate to the medieval and post-medieval water management systems which supplied the episcopal moated manor house. Previously unknown, extant remains include stone-lined culverts with remains of sluices. Brief consideration is given to evidence for water management at the bishop’s other episcopal manors across the region’.

Dr Stuart Milby

Following graduation from King Alfred’s College, Winchester in 1998, Stuart spent three years working in commercial field archaeology on several large urban and rural sites for various archaeological units including Oxford Archaeology, Cotswold Archaeological Trust and Bath Archaeological Trust. In 2001, Stuart completed a Masters Degree in Human Osteology, Funerary Archaeology and Biological Anthropology, at the University of Sheffield. On successful completion of his MSc, Stuart returned to field archaeology in a supervisory capacity working on some of the largest archaeological excavations undertaken in the UK to date. Stuart has extensive experience in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork and has a specific interest in human remains and burial sites. He joined Context One in 2007 and is now Fieldwork Manager for the company.

Dr Cheryl Green

Cheryl is Post-Excavation Manager and Historic Buildings Archaeologist at Context One Archaeological Services Ltd. Graduating from the University of Reading in 1995, Cheryl has a broad range of archaeological experience within both the commercial and academic arenas in the South East and South West, working for Oxford Archaeology, the University of Reading and Context One since 2004. In 2001, Cheryl was awarded her Doctorate in archaeology from the University of Reading, her thesis analysing the stone building industry of Southern Britain from the Roman to medieval periods. Specialisms include ecclesiastical archaeology, historic buildings and worked stone, although she is passionate about all aspects of heritage. For several years Cheryl was the Post-Doctoral Research Assistant for the Glastonbury Abbey excavation archive project, led by Professor Roberta Gilchrist (U of R). The recently released excavation monograph (Gilchrist and Green 2015, Society of Antiquaries) has been heralded as a landmark for our understanding of British monasticism.

Lecture 3

Dr Robert Dunning – Monday 12th December 15.00-16.00

1206 – Jocelin and the origins of The Palace in Wells

‘Robert Dunning was Somerset’s County Historian for nearly forty years, specialising in ecclesiastical history.  His History of the Diocese of Bath and Wells marked its 1100th anniversary.  He has been associated with the Bishop’s Palace since Bishop Henderson’s time.